How many times have you said to yourself "How do I get more leads without paying for them?" It's the never ending question that plagues insurance agents. You want your business to grow and don't know how to get more clients calling you. The reality is, if you're servicing your existing clients properly, they will do the marketing for you. Calling, mailing, emailing and even door knocking (yes some agents still do this) are all forms of outbound marketing. It's time to review your strategy.
How will your existing clients market for you, you ask? It's a process of nurturing them and educating them. Keep in touch with them, inform them of new products and services you offer. In essence, be their teacher. And what does this do for you? It lets your clients know that you're keeping abreast of market trends and products. You're coming to them with the latest in industry news and solutions. Bringing your A game to the table resonates with clients.
Word of mouth and influencers are two forms of marketing. But the reality is, they're both the same. Influencers typically work online and via social media. Word of mouth extends into the digital space and offline as well. If you take care of your clients, they become your influencers and spread the word that you are THE agent to work with.
Building your brand and your credibility comes from within. If you exemplify professionalism, integrity and wisdom, your clients will talk about you.
Another key component to this, is to focus on additional sales with your existing client base. Offering one type of insurance can be limiting, so if you feel you can take on new products, by all means do it! You don't have to offer every insurance product known to man; however, if you can assist your clients with an array of solutions, you'll have your own, private army doing your marketing for you.
Referral marketing is big in this industry and everyone asks for referrals. If your clients talk about you, they'll send referrals without you ever having to ask for them. They're doing the marketing work for you.
Incorporate inbound marketing with your outbound marketing strategy to allow your client base to grow. That means sending them informative pieces, and it doesn't have to be solely insurance-based. Including articles about retirement, nursing homes, social security and even protecting them from identity theft are all ways to enlighten your clients. The more you focus on attention and sales within your existing client base, the more you'll get in return.
First off, the biggest source for networking and referrals comes right from your own circle of family and friends and your existing clientele. You've heard the old story "he told someone, then she told someone" and on and on it goes. Networking and referrals do not have to be daunting. In fact, it can be quite easy to build your customer base, if you're willing to work at your goal and put forth some effort.
Some of the absolute basics in getting repeat business or referrals is deeply rooted in how an advisor approaches his business and treats his existing clients. People want to be heard, they want to be acknowledged and they want to be understood. They also want to be treated with respect, kindness, fairness and be appreciated. That's just human nature.
We have people say to us "Selling insurance isn't as easy as I thought it would be. How do I grow my business?"
The golden rule is this: if you know your products, treat clients with fairness, respect and acknowledge them, they will in turn recommend you to their family, friends and peers. It's really as simple as that. If you follow up with a client two months after writing a Medicare Supplement policy for them, just to check in and make sure they're happy with their plan and their premium, that speaks volumes about who you are as an advisor to them. After all, they are looking to you for answers. This follow-up is the perfect time to ask additional discovery questions as well. "How's your health?" "Have you thought about life insurance?" "Is there someone in your family who could benefit from long-term care insurance?" These are all ways of making the client feel important, without trying to push a specific product on them. It also shows them that you have a broad knowledge on the topic of senior health products, and want to ensure they are well taken care of. And if you need assistance recommending a product, you can certainly look to us to help you. That is why we're here, after all.
Kindness goes a LONG way.
When you listen to people, you acknowledge their concerns, and you show interest in their well-being, you in turn are paving the groundwork for future clients. The next time you write a piece of business, tell your client that you're going to follow up with them in two months (and be sure to create that follow-up task in your CRM, so you're reminded to do so). Explain to them that you want them to be happy with the services you've provided, and want to be sure you've addressed all of their needs. Seniors change all the time. They move, they retire, they become ill, they have grandchildren. Life is never static, and neither should your philosophy be on growing your business. And if your small client base is happy with you, they will in turn speak highly of you. And before you know it, you will have clients calling you.....and not the other way around.
By Carolyn Portanova
What do your clients want? Let's face it. You're in Sales. It's what the insurance industry is about. As independent agents, you sell. You sell Medicare Supplement policies, Life Insurance policies, Long-term care solutions, Disability Income Insurance plans. They're all products. But what sets you apart from Joe down the road who is also selling similar products to an ever-expanding senior market?
I recently read an article published by Life Health Pro, regarding what seniors wish their advisors knew. Some of it may seem like common sense, yet some of it is clearly lost, and some of the key points in the article should be taken to heart. You would think that 'Trust' would have been #1. It sure would have been on my list, if I had been asked to participate in the poll. Trust is of utmost importance when it comes to a retiree looking for a solid solution for healthcare. At a time in their life when they're now on a fixed income, and they're relying on your expertise to guide them to the best solution (and albeit most of it is cost-driven, give the fact that they're no longer working) is of paramount importance. Trusting your advisor to research and explore numerous options, all this, after asking important, probing questions to find out what the client needs, is how one earns and gains trust. Right? Well, apparently not everyone does that. And I'm here to tell you, that it's important.
You may ask how I know that it's important, given the fact that I'm not an insurance agent. I'm in Marketing. What could I possibly know about Sales? In another life, I managed a team of sales agents for Apple, Inc. Different industry. Different type of sales, you say. Yes and no. Sales is first and foremost about selling yourself. You sell yourself to the client. First impressions are what count. And we all know, you only have one time to make a first impression, so it better be a good one. But after that, after you've sold yourself to your new, prospective client, you are now in the process of earning their trust. How do you do this? You listen. You become an active listener and you take an active interest in your client.
At Apple, you have to relay the benefits to a customer about the products you're introducing them to. Makes sense, right? Afterall, benefits are what actually sell a product. And you sell the benefits to the solution you've provided AFTER you've probed and asked important questions about your client's life and lifestyle, and you've listened. In the Apple world, this is called creating a complete solution. The Mac user that renders high-def video and who needs a tricked-out MacBook Pro is completely different from the high school student who needs a basic MacBook for fundamental needs. Apple creates successful sales people, they do not churn out order takers. There is a big difference. And it all comes back to listening and asking questions, which is part of the customer engagement model.
Back to the insurance industry. Some examples of questions you should be asking:
The list of questions can go on and on. It may seem obvious, but yet somehow, so many agents don't do this. They don't ask, and they don't listen. They don't show interest in their client. By taking an interest and showing that you care, and that you genuinely want to find the best solution for your client.....you have then earned their trust.
By Carolyn Portanova
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.